Wellness Coaching: Latest Trends | College of Executive Coaching
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Wellness Coaching: Latest Trends

August 5, 2019
By Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., MCC

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"We want to be well. We yearn to be in control and feel better. We want more energy," says Margaret Moore, board member of the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaches. "But there is an enormous gap between wanting to be well and the everyday reality of living with the mental and physical health penalties of overeating, under-exercising, and having too little down time."

Wellness Coaching: Latest Trends

Doctors' Views on Wellness Coaching

Dr. Jeffrey Auerbach, author of the Wellness Coaching Workbook, a collection of tools and homework assignments for wellness coaching clients, says he wrote the book because most of his executive coaching clients reported they were, “Both physically and emotionally depleted.” Auerbach shares, “I find that given the choice, most executive coaching clients want to include a wellness and well-being focus into their executive coaching.”

Physicians are increasingly utilizing wellness coaches to help their clients live a healthier lifestyle. Michael Lano, MD. Director of the Ridgeview Clinics, a network of primary care facilities in Minneapolis, refers several patients a month to wellness coaches.

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Dr. Lano says, "I'm a family physician and I always tell my patients that it's my job to help them live a long, healthy life”. But 98% is their part, and that's what the coach helps with—everything from diet and exercise to emotional well-being. It's the same thing that we doctors deal with, but the coach deals with it from a lifestyle perspective."

Lano says he sees significant improvements in patients who work with wellness coaches. He reports most begin exercising and eating better, but also make other important changes as well, which has a positive effect on their overall life-satisfaction as well as their lifestyle.

Who is an Ideal Candidate for Wellness Coaching?

Dr. Lano says the ideal patient is someone who may not be doing anything bad, but they're not doing the good things. For example, “They're not eating well. They're not exercising. They're stressed. They're stuck. They're not making progress."

Dr. Jim Harburger found himself in that situation. The 66-year-old psychiatrist began to gain weight 32 years ago when he stopped smoking. Gradually, his weight went from 165 pounds to 220 pounds.

Much of the problem, Harburger says, was stress from his job as the director of a large behavioral health organization. He explained, “I was eating to handle the anxieties from my work.”

Harburger joined a gym. But like many others, he found it hard to get there and went only sporadically. He finally hired a corporate wellness coach.

"My coach was listening to me about my life, learning about how I managed eating, the stressors in my life, and my relationship to my body," he explains. "She became familiar with all aspects of my life. And slowly, she built a relationship that I started to value."

The result? Harburger said he visits the gym almost every day now, and dropped 40 pounds over a three-year period.

Wellness coaches say people come in expecting to be told what to do, but what actually works best for them is to slow down, think about their goals, and then determine the path themselves with the support of the trained coach.

Understanding Wellness Coaching

Michael Arloski, PhD, the author of Wellness Coaching for Lasting Change, argues, "We need to move from 'prescribe and treat,' or what I like to call 'education and implore'—where we're begging someone to change after we give them a lot of information—to a coaching model where we're advocates for change and become an ally with that person".

Wellness coaching clients usually pay $90 to $180 a session, and work with their coach for at least three to six months—or longer.

Business Wire’s "The U.S. Health Coaching Market" report documents that wellness coaching has emerged as a $6 billion service market, with a strong growth outlook, after analyzing wellness coaching utilization with Aetna, Cigna, Humana, United Health Group, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente and the Mayo Clinic.

Wellness and health coaches advise and facilitate clients to change poor lifestyle habits, manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, and find more well-being in their work and home life. Most wellness coaches are in private practice, at primary care offices, in corporate wellness programs, or are incorporating wellness coaching into their personal or executive coaching services. Large self-insured companies are using coaches to improve employee health and cut claims costs, as are healthcare insurers.

Why Demand is Increasing for Health and Wellness Coaches

The growing demand for wellness coaching is being driven by:

  • Rising health care costs. Individuals, health care providers, and insurance carriers are seeking ways to decrease the rising cost of health insurance and health care. Wellness coaches provide clients with practical healthy lifestyle support and coaching to reduce the need for more invasive and costly medical intervention.
  • The fact that most illness is caused by unhealthy lifestyle—which is changeable through coaching.
  • Health care providers, HMOs, and insurance companies are realizing the benefits of using wellness coaches to supplement the care they provide their patients.
  • Health and wellness coaches can help their customers avoid preventable diseases like diabetes and obesity, which will help reduce the reliance on doctor’s visits, prescriptions, and hospital visits, which in turn reduces the cost of providing health care.
  • Employers increasingly see the need for in-house wellness coaches to improve employee health and productivity.

The Job Outlook for Health Coaches

Rising health care costs, the obesity problem, and the impact of lifestyle choices on health have made people more conscious about their health and wellness. With more people becoming focused on the need to be healthy, along with an aging population that is willing to invest in their health there, the demand for certified wellness coaches is increasing rapidly.

If you want to be in a field where demand for services will create terrific opportunities for you to have a thriving, profitable practice, you are in the right place!

The National Board of Medical Examiners, the same prestigious board that licenses physicians, wants to have more qualified wellness coaches available to meet demand. So the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaches and the National Board of Medical Examiners, collaborated to issue a professional Health and Wellness Coach Credential after the coach receives their approved curriculum and passes the national exam. Application standards are scheduled to tighten in 2020 so many coaches are completing their specialty wellness coach training and applying for this new credential now.

Source: National Board of Medical Examiners; Annabelle Robertson, Wellness Coaching, WebMD Archives.
The College of Executive Coaching is an Approved Provider of the Health and Wellness Coaching Curriculum required by the National Board of Medical Examiners.

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